Wednesday, September 22, 2021

This 81-Year-Old’s Newest Friend? She’s a Robot

At a glance, if you were to see an older adult chatting to a lamp, that might seem odd. But for Deanna Dezern, this particular lamp has been a great source of comfort, especially through the pandemic.

This is no ordinary lamp. Her “friend” is ElliQ, an AI device that Dezern can chat with who she says has a great sense of humour. What’s she look like? Think petite, and cylindrical, with a glowing flat top. And ElliQ is actually more of a work colleague than a friend: Dezern is a product tester for Intuition Robotics, the developer of ElliQ. She tries out this new tech product and shares her feedback. It’s a job Dezern loves; she sees the time she spends trying the product as something that will help ensure quality for future generations, she writes in this article for Fast Company.

And it’s a job she can do with no tech experience whatsoever. She simply has to use ElliQ in her daily life by chatting with the robot, and in doing so that data is processed by it. She sees it as her contribution towards helping with loneliness, isolation and health concerns for older adults around the world.

And while she recognizes beta testing this lamp is work, in the process, the robot has become like a friend in this trying time. For more on how she works using ElliQ and about the issue of loneliness for older adults, check out her piece here in Fast Company.

Photo: Intuition Robotics

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